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Peterborough letter: Long-term care crisis will only get worse

Posted: November 12, 2020

(November 11, 2020)

By: Jenny Carter, The Peterborough Examiner

Ontario Health Coalition representative Charlene Avon speaks during a protest on long-term care and privatization organized by Peterborough Health Coalition outside Peterborough-Kawartha MPP Dave Smith's constituency office on Ocgt. 8.

While our premier expresses concern about long-term care in this province, the facts suggest that his main objective, even after the disasters we have seen in this pandemic, is to make sure that long-term care remains a profitable business. He has agreed to mandate four hours of daily care for residents, but only after several years, not straight away. He is also trying to pass legislation (Bill 218) that will make it harder for those who are suing long-term companies for negligence, and there are many, to get results.

So what is happening in Peterborough? This is what I learn from information recently provided by the Ontario Health Coalition.

In 2014 the U.S. Department of Justice issued a press release about Extendicare, the company now slated to open a second residence in Peterborough.

“Extendicare Health Services Inc.(Extendicare) and its subsidiary Progressive Step Corporation (Pro Step) have agreed to pay $38 million to the United States and eight states to resolve allegations that Extendicare billed Medicare and Medicaid for materially substandard nursing services that were so deficient that they were effectively worthless and billed Medicare medically unreasonable and unnecessary rehabilitation therapy service, the Justice Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-01G) jointly announced today. This resolution is the largest failure of care settlement with a chain-wide skilled facility in the department’s history.”

Subsequently, Extendicare fled the U.S.,sold its homes there, and expanded into other markets, particularly in Canada.

What is the Ford government thinking of? What is Peterborough thinking of? Are we happy to see our old people die in misery and neglect so somebody can make a profit?

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